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Bihari labourers are headed back home

The food industry in Muzaffarpur, Bihar is growing, despite the lack of government support. The reason for this growth is that skilled labourers are returning to their home state, after having worked in Punjab and Haryana, which are at a higher level of industrialization when compared to Bihar.

“I used to import rice from Punjab but now I supply paddy to Punjab and Haryana. There has been a 50 percent increase in the yield of the Paddy crop”, said Santosh Kumar, a farmer and owner of a food processing unit that processes grains.

“Labourers  coming back to Muzaffarpur, after working in Punjab and Haryana, educates us about better  techniques used to grow and process food”, said Kumar.

Earlier, there were around seven food processing units in Muzaffarpur. Todaythere are more than 20 such units. “And many more such units are coming up,” said Kumar.

“The state government of Bihar is not supporting its industrialists. We do not get any subsidies from the government to buy land or any other infrastructure. There is no financial help either. One cannot buy land on subsidized rates as it takes a years’ to complete formalities. The state government must relax the norms related to purchase of land for industries and should provide some financial help to units,” said Kumar.

“Some people have come back to Bihar to enroll themselves into the NREGA scheme while others have come back to work in the industries here. This is helping industrialists because learn a lot about new machinery and better techniques in the growing and processing of food,” said Anil Kumar Sinha, chairman, Bihar Industries Association.

Bihar’s gain is someone’s loss

"Industrialists are facing problems in completing orders because of a labour problem. A majority of all labourers have gone back to their home state Bihar as they are now getting good wages their also,” said D.S.Chawla, former chairman of the United Cycle parts Manufacturers Association in Ludhiana

“labourers are not ready to work with our industries and want to go back as they are getting good opportunities in Bihar as well.. It has become a big problem in the entire state,” said Sushil Kumar, a Haryana-based industrialist who runs a food processing company.